Four US citizens were shot dead and abducted by gunmen after crossing the Mexican border to buy medicine as a search is underway for them, authorities say.
The FBI said the unidentified Americans entered the northern town of Matamoros from Texas on Friday and were taken away after gunmen opened fire on their van.
The Mexican president said the four men went to buy medicine and found themselves caught in the crossfire between two groups of armed men.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters: “They are people from the United States, and the information we have is that they crossed the border to buy medicine in Mexico and there was a confrontation between the groups and that they have been arrested.”
“It’s already taken care of. I believe it’s going to be resolved. I expect it, I hope so,” he continued.
US President Joe Biden is aware of the “unacceptable” abductions, the White House said, adding that it was “ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance, and US law enforcement is in contact with Mexican law enforcement.”
The FBI’s San Antonio Division office said the four Americans were “placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men.”
Matamoros is located just south of Brownsville, Texas.
US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said the Americans were abducted at gunpoint and an “innocent” Mexican was killed.
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Mexican and US authorities said on Monday they were working to locate the four Americans and the FBI is offering a $50,000 (£41,000) reward for the safe return of the victims and the arrest of the culprits.
The four were in a white van with North Carolina license plates when they entered Matamoros, the US Embassy in Mexico said.
The gunmen allegedly shot the passengers shortly after their vehicle crossed the border, then drove them into another vehicle before fleeing, he added.
Video posted on social media on Friday showed gunmen, some wearing body armor, putting four people in the back of a truck in broad daylight. One was alive and seated, but the others appeared dead or injured.
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Matamoros is home to warring factions of the Gulf drug cartel and the shootings there were so severe on Friday that the US consulate issued a danger alert and local authorities warned people to take shelter.
The US State Department has issued a “do not travel” warning for the state of Tamaulipas, where Matamoros is located, due to “crimes and kidnappings”.
As a border town, US citizens who live in Brownsville or elsewhere in Texas frequently pass through to visit family, attend medical appointments, or shop and it is also used as a waypoint for people traveling deeper into Mexico.